In November 2020, CWM Europe began to facilitate a series of webinars to use it as a space to help members and ecumenical partners to reflect on CWM’s renewed theme around  “Life-flourishing Communities, living out God’s promise of a New Heaven and a New Earth”.

We have hosted 4 webinars, all of which can be found below, or on our YouTube Channel. We have 8 more webinars planned in 2021.

In this webinar, Revd. Alex Clare-Young will talk about trans and non-binary gender identities. Alex will introduce their postdoctoral research, which has the working title ‘Trans-Formations: A grounded theology, rooted in the identities, experiences and understandings of trans and non-binary Christians.’ Alex will talk about why this research matters to them, personally, and will briefly describe some of their initial findings. There will also be an opportunity to discuss this topic in more depth, in small groups, and to explore how churches could work towards a ‘gender audit’, enabling trans accessibility and inclusion. The session will begin and end with prayers from Transgender. Christian. Human.

This presentation will use the Iona Community case study to highlight the passion held by young people towards the Community’s mission and will track the changing theology of where young people fit into the organisation concurrently. I will argue that to be able to incorporate young people as partners in mission, investment has to be made, especially to attract those who organically lie outside of the boundaries of the church. Historically, the Community thrived in its diversity, yet now an aging, majority white, middle-class organisation, fraught with financial concerns from Covid-19, is worried about the future. I will argue that their changing approach towards ‘youth’ can help explain why fresh enthusiasm for the organisation has recently faded. 

The convergence of pre-existing poverty, a decade-long neo-liberal ‘age of austerity’ and structural inequality represents a perfect storm for people who are left out and left behind in contemporary Britain and an unprecedented mission challenge for the Church. Drawing on original case studies focusing on food poverty, low pay, poor housing, lateral violence and asset-based community development taken from the ongoing ‘Life on the Breadline’ project this presentation will shine a light on the strengths and weaknesses of contemporary Christian responses to resurgent poverty. It will be suggested that we are living at an apocalyptic Kairos moment for the Church within which the lament that arises from the collective trauma of systemic poverty offers new and urgent opportunities to re-imagine the nature of Christian presence and God’s preferential option for the poor and foster an approach to mission that models a vision of the common good within which all people can flourish.

The backdrop of Tessa’s presentation is the ongoing turbulence around the world in which people including BLM, have come together to signal overturning long-held discriminatory/racist practices and abuses. This ongoing pandemic, which causes stress, trauma and others illnesses, serves as an opportunity for reflective, authentic dialogue on minoritized communities — especially women — claiming and occupying space in their church communities and the value it brings to the wider society.  Tessa situates herself among ethnically-minoritized people and women in particular in claiming, creating and occupying spaces within human and social structures — including her own denomination– that were/are unwelcoming — even hostile.